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Trevor Phillips: why I’m not backing Obama

By Tom Chatfield  

In Prospect‘s lead opinion piece this month, Trevor Phillips—chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and one of Britain’s foremost black political figures—explains why he believes Barack Obama’s emergence as a credible US presidential candidate has actually put back the arrival of a post-racial America.

Obama is, Phillips explains, both a charismatic and a ruthless figure, and one “whose African ancestors never endured transatlantic slavery.” Unlike “challengers,” such as Malcolm X, Obama is a “bargainer” who has tacitly agreed not use America’s history of white racism as a political weapon, and who in return expects his own race not…

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